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Importing Parts into Alibre 


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Importing Parts into Alibre 

Written By: Dustyn Roberts 


An exciting feature of some 3D modeling programs is that you can create assembly files that 
include multiple parts, and relate the parts to each other just like they relate to each other in 
real life. This allows you to move parts around on the screen to mimic their real functions, 
and make sure the pieces don't jam into each other when they move so there's plenty of 
space for the range of motion you want. Using assemblies also allows you to download CAD 
files directly from McMaster-Carr of all kinds of off-the-shelf components, then assemble 
them on your screen before buying anything so you can make sure everything fits together 
perfectly. With 63,000 component CAD files currently available on McMaster-Carr alone, this 
can save you a ton of time. Assemblies allow you to visualize what your final mechanism 
will look like, while keeping the part files separate from each other. This way one part can 
represent an off-the-shelf motor, another custom part can be exported for 3D printing, and 
another can be made into a 2D vector drawing to send to a laser cutter. 

A few of the popular CAD programs - like Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor, ProEngineer, and 
Alibre Design Personal - include the built-in ability to make assemblies of parts. Let's step 
through an example using the most affordable option - Alibre Design. 

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Importing Parts into Alibre 

Step 1 — Importing Parts into Alibre 

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• Download Alibre Design Personal 
from . It 
starts with a free 30-day trial, then 
you can choose to purchase the 
personal edition to maintain 
functionality for $99 at this time. 

• Find the part on McMaster-Carr 
that you want to download. In this 
case, I've chosen a standard 1/4- 
20 by 1 inch long stainless steel 
socket-head cap screw 
(#92196A542). Check in the side 
bar to see if "3-D Model" is an 
option (circled here). 

• Luckily for us this part is available. 
Click on 3-D Model and you'll get a 
dropdown menu that gives you 
options of 3D models or 2D 
technical drawings to download. 
Choose either 3D STEP, IGES, or 
SAT - all of them work with Alibre 
Design. Download the part and 
save it somewhere you'll 

© Make Projects 

Page 2 of 3 

Importing Parts into Alibre 

Step 2 

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• Open Alibre Design. From the main 
screen, choose File->lmport then 
look for the screw file you just 
downloaded. Open the file, then hit 
OK when asked about Import File 

• Voila! The CAD file of the screw 
should pop up on your screen. Use 
the Rotate button (shown selected 
at top) to spin the model around 
and the measuring tool (under 
Tools->Measurement Tool) to 
confirm that everything imported 

This how-to is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Making Things Move . 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-02 10:47:36 AM. 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 3